Transgender migrant detainees moved from ICE facility called unsafe

A sign at the Aurora GEO ICE Processing Center in suburban Denver. The detention facility can hold about 1,400 detainees.

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DENVER — Dozens of transgender migrant detainees have been moved from a long-criticized detention facility in New Mexico to other holding sites across the country, including a newly built unit in suburban Denver.

ICE officials wouldn’t say if they had completely shut down what had been the sole housing unit dedicated to transgender women migrants at the Cibola Correctional Center in rural New Mexico. But the move of the 27 inmates last week came just days after members of Congress demanded that ICE either improve conditions for transgender detainees or simply let them go.

In a statement, ICE officials said Thursday they’re working with the Cibola facility’s owner, CoreCivic, to improve conditions at the detention center, which can house more than 1,000 inmates and detainees. Many ICE facilities are owned and operated by private contractors.

A sign at the Aurora GEO ICE Processing Center in suburban Denver. The detention facility can hold about 1,400 detainees.

“ICE recognizes the unique, long-term health care management needs of detainees who identify as transgender and wants to ensure transgender detainees have access to every resource available at ICE’s disposal,” an ICE spokesperson said in a statement.

A USA TODAY Network investigation published in December revealed that some transgender inmates at Cibola felt mistreated by staff at the facility, which also serves as the county jail. Several transgender inmates held at Cibola said they had been sexually assaulted or subjected to sexual harassment.

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